PaperBoyEcologic Brands, makers of recycled paper bottles and the award-winning eco.bottle line, announced that it has completed the first close of a $7 million round of financing. Investors include a strategic investment from Kruger Inc. and current Angel investors, DBL Investors, Catamount Ventures and Black Bear Partners.

As part of the investment agreement, Kruger will become the exclusive licensee and manufacturer of Ecologic’s paper bottle technology in Canada. Kruger’s Consumer Products Division currently serves the U.S. and Canadian markets with numerous well-known tissue product brands, and the eco.bottle opens doors to other types of consumer-facing goods.

Kruger’s strategic investment in Ecologic unlocks synergies between two highly complementary partners, the most obvious being Kruger’s manufacturing, supply chain and paper technology with Ecologic’s patented molded fiber technology. This will help scale Ecologic’s current manufacturing capabilities rapidly, while tapping into over 100 years of Kruger’s industry experience in pulp and paper products, containerboard and packaging, lumber, recycling, and renewable energy.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ecologic, a company whose goal is to provide differentiated and innovative sustainable packaging solutions to consumers around the globe,” says Michael Lafave, senior vice president, Containerboard/Packaging & Recycling at Kruger Inc. “We are especially excited to bring the Ecologic paper bottle technology to our customers in the Canadian market as an additional offering to complement our corrugated packaging solutions.”

Since commercializing its first paper bottle in 2011 with green cleaning powerhouse, Seventh Generation Inc., Ecologic has manufactured and shipped millions of bottles to 15 brand partners around the world. Currently, 30 percent of Ecologic’s business come from the export of its eco.bottle, demonstrating that the demand for sustainable packaging is a global trend. Its customers also include Safeway and Bodylogix. The company is poised to scale its operations after building a manufacturing facility in Manteca, Calif. last year and now forging a partnership with Kruger.

Ecologic is aiming to take a leadership role in the emerging sustainable packaging market by building a profitable business around a closed loop, waste-to-recovery model, which converts local store waste into paper bottles and packaging. By simplifying and cutting cost out of its customers’ supply chains, Ecologic is creating and on shoring important manufacturing jobs in Manteca.

Julie Corbett, founder of Ecologic, commented on the significance of this relationship. “By bringing the paper eco.bottle into markets that have been traditionally dominated by plastics, our partnership with Kruger will help us revolutionize the bottling business with one of the most renewable and recyclable resources — paper.”

Ira Maroofian, CEO of Ecologic added, “We want to build this company with great products, people and partners. The Kruger team brings all of that to the table and truly legitimizes Ecologic as a packaging company with staying power.”

Most recently, Ecologic entered into a general supply agreement with Sonoma-based winery, Truett-Hurst Inc., to produce paper wine bottles for the PaperBoy brand. PaperBoy wine bottles are made from compressed, recycled corrugate formed into the shape of a standard Bordeaux wine bottle. These new paper wine bottles are 85 percent lighter than traditional glass bottles and filled with appellation-based, super-premium wines.